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February 18, 2006
Politics in Church

In N.C., GOP Requests Church Directories

The North Carolina Republican Party asked its members this week to send their church directories to the party, drawing furious protests from local and national religious leaders.

"Such a request is completely beyond the pale of what is acceptable," said the Rev. Richard Land, head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Which is all well and good, but look at the next paragraph:

During the 2004 presidential race, the Bush-Cheney campaign sent a similar request to Republican activists across the country. It asked churchgoers not only to furnish church directories to the campaign, but also to use their churches as a base for political organizing.

That's a gray area. Rather dark gray, in fact.

Many community and whaddyacallum, congregation groups use their church property to hold various kinds of meetings, from "socials" to knitting to day care to elder care. How different is it for people to use their church for political organizing?

Is it okay, as long as the preaching doesn't come from the pulpit during services? Or should politics and religion be confined to different buildings? What about voting. (Do any districts have churches designated as official balloting places? Or is that illegal?)

Also?

Mears said the "Republican National Committee has completed a study on grass-roots activity that reveals that people who regularly attend church usually vote Republican when they vote."

The last study I read said that people who say they regularly attend church are usually lying about the frequency. So maybe that "vote Republican" thing is the result of similar cherry-picking of reality?

Me, if I was a member of one of those churches? One of the things I'd really be up in arms about was some other church member supplying my contact information to yet another group of money-grubbing telemarketers. Because one thing you can count on is that these folks are going to be deluged with demands for money.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:00 PM


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